Club night and the Coastal Assault Champion Tim and myself were pitched against each other for a relaxing evening's Drop Zone game. We had no particular mission in mind, so we chose Defence Line. Tim brought along his 'work in progress' UCM army with things he 'threw together'. The one notable thing about it, the two Ferrums (naughty boy Timothy). I took my Invasion list, but with a tweak; three Hunters out, a Screamer and Raider in.
Above: All is good in the world. Mike, Stephen and Tim settle down for some Zoning.
The Mission has corner deployment with focal points in your home corners, scoring at the end of turn six, and three Critical Location across the diagonal in bunkers, scoring from turn two onwards. However, you must be in the bunkers to score.
As a Drop Zone player you will eventually play in a game, and before you start, you know that it is a perfect storm of a difficult mission against the wrong type of army. For Tim this realisation arrived early. The UCM's lack of an obvious counter to the hitting power of Eviserators or Destroyers was a big problem when Bunker occupancy was the main focus for scoring.
Above: The table, early in turn two.
This was the first time that I had faced UCM Drones with my Overseer. Having suffered at their hands many times before what an absolute pleasure it was to swat them away with relative ease. (The Overseer is never going to keep its eight shots when they eventually rejig the rules). And as the Drones can only return four at a time, when they do fly back, they are far less effective than if they were in a flock of eight. I sent my Minders after Tim's Commander, and left my Overseer near my own focal point for the inevitable final turn rush that I expected from the UCM.
Above: 'Alex. Don't shot it down I've spent ages painting it', was Tim's plaintive request.
Infiltrating UCM scouts sounds all very fine, but their transport has to come on from reserve. Three failed reserve rolls meant that Tim could not reposition them until turn five, at which point the game was pretty much done and dusted.
Taking UCM mortars also seemed like a good plan, but with them being only energy six and his only ground targets were my impervious Hunters, the light artillery spent the game twiddling their thumbs.
Above: Thumb twiddlers.
Above: A unit of Drones took some time to debate their choice of target. Scraider or Corruptor? They choose well, and the worm delivery craft, still containing two units of wrigglies, was destroyed.
Above: Shameless Joe shows off his latest purchase. [Not to long now DFC backers].
Above: All erupts around the top bunker. Although placed outside, in fact the infantry bases are all inside. The Screamer hoped, in vain, that he can stay alive long enough to affect the impending combat. Note: The Jink and Weave card had been on the Raider. I just hadn't taken it off the table yet.
The combat within the top left bunker was pivotal to the result of the game and consisted of two bases of Destroyers with a base of Razorworms versus four bases of Hazard Suits and two bases of Praetorians. Should the dice run true, the UCM would come out on top. A number of combat rounds later, both stands of Destroyers remained in the bunker very much alone. The reason? Well the dice did not run true. In one particular round of combat, I had rolled six dice against a unit of Hazards, needing sixes, and got five successes. A ridiculously high number of saves also helped my cause, and eventually the Scourge heavies had only their own company to entertain themselves. The dice had in fact hopped, skipped and jumped ignoring averages and reason.
Above: Post combat, a forlorn Tim contemplates where it all went wrong.' Cheer up and have a Pringle'.
Above: The Sniper's taxi finally arrives. 'Where the hell have you being?' I imagine they asked.
With Tim focussing his combat troops on only one bunker, the middle bunker (Eviserators) and far right bunker (two units of Warriors) had been in my possession since turn two, my victory points had been stacking up. The failure of the Snipers and Mortars to play any useful part in proceedings, meant that whatever had happened outside the bunkers was not going to effect the eventual result.
Above: Gloating over, Joe begins to assemble his Drop Fleet Commander bases.
Above: Both commanders contest the Scourge focal point in turn six.
And with that the game concluded with the result Tim feared, a 14 to 6 loss. Thanks to Tim for seeing it out to the end and for his good humour despite the dice deserting him throughout.
I wish you all a happy wargaming.